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Definition of PROTESTANT ETHIC
: an ethic that stresses the virtue of hard work, thrift, and self-discipline
First Known Use of PROTESTANT ETHIC
Value attached to hard work, thrift, and self-discipline under certain Protestant doctrines, particularly those of Calvinism. Max Weber, in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904–05), held that the Protestant ethic was an important factor in the economic success of Protestant groups in the early stages of European capitalism, in that worldly success came to be interpreted as a sign of the individual's election to eternal salvation. Weber's thesis was variously criticized and expanded throughout the 20th century. See alsoProtestantism; Richard H. Tawney.